News in brief

Short takes on this week's news

Short takes on this week's news

Connecting for Health to address system choice

Connecting for Health is today expected to announce its solution to a long-running battle over GPs' choice of IT systems by offering them a wider range of computer systems. GP leaders want family doctors to be able to continue to run the IT systems they believe are best suited to their clinical and business needs, rather than being forced to choose from the offerings of their local service providers. An extension to the range of service provider offerings is CfH's anticipated compromise solution.

Outsourcing still driven by savings, says Gartner

Short-term cost reduction is the main driver of outsourcing according to research from analyst group Gartner. A survey of almost 1,000 senior IT professionals worldwide looking at outsourcing datacentre, desktop network and enterprise applications, found that most firms are still focused on tactical IT outsourcing to achieve short-term, cost-focused objectives. The top two inhibitors to IT outsourcing focused on data security or privacy issues and concerns around the potentially high costs.

Fujitsu launches eight socket server blade

Fujitsu Siemens Computers has launched its Primergy BX630 eight-socket server blade designed for server farms and datacentre applications. Based on AMD Opteron processors, the new server will allow users to switch to and from running two-socket servers to four-socket or eight-socket servers - without investing in new hardware.

Microsoft launches phishing legal campaign

Microsoft launched a legal campaign against phishing criminals in Europe. The company issued civil legal proceedings against suspected phishers in the UK and other European countries. Microsoft launched 100 legal cases against suspected phishers in the US last year. The company's legal campaign follows a rising tide of phishing e-mails.

Northamptonshire signs four-year contract

Northamptonshire County Council has awarded a four-year payroll services contract to services provider HBS. The deal, worth £1m a year, will see HBS run the council's payroll on SAP-based systems.

Test version of SQL Server SP1 released

With the first service pack for Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 database due out next month, Microsoft has released a Community Technology Preview for users to test. New features in SP1 include full database mirroring so administrators can carry out full real-time data back-ups, and SQL Server Management Studio Express to help run the free version of SQL Server 2005.

Cisco previews next gen video conferencing

Cisco has previewed the next generation of video conferencing: a "telepresence" system, due out this year, that can transmit full-size, high-quality video images capable of conveying body language and high-quality sound. Cisco chief executive John Chambers predicted that in three to seven years most interactions within and between organisations would be video driven.

More potent denial of service attacks emerge

A type of denial of service attack with more power to harm an organisation's IT systems has emerged, according to security supplier VeriSign's chief security officer. Ken Silva said the new exploits send queries to DNS servers with the return address pointed at the targeted victim, strengthening the attack. 

Sun Microsystems opens hosted public grid

This week, Sun will open up its long-awaited hosted public grid, allowing anyone with a web browser to use the power of 7,000 AMD Opteron CPUs for $1 per CPU hour. Users will be able to put their applications onto the grid and run their workloads, paying via PayPal.

L'Oreal and Body Shop merger made easy

Global cosmetics firm L'Oreal is to buy The Body Shop for £652m in cash in a merger that should be simplified as both companies are large SAP users. L'Oreal has implemented R/3 ERP systems, and The Body Shop has underpinned more than 2,000 stores with a global SAP ERP infrastructure.

IT's views sought on project management

The Association of Project Management is undertaking a major study among project managers from all sectors, and it is urging IT professionals to participate. To take part in the survey, visit the APM website.

Immigration office signs £6.7m Siemens deal

The UK Immigration and Nationality Directorate has awarded a three-year contract to Siemens Business Services to manage its work permits and leave-to-remain application process. The contract is worth £6.7m, with a possible extension for a further two years.

Renfrewshire adopts CedarOpenAccounts

Renfrewshire Council has signed a £1.4m, five-year deal to install a CedarOpenAccounts financial management system. The system will improve financial reporting and replace a range of legacy financial accounting, budgeting, accounts payable and receivable, fixed assets, bank reconciliation and business intelligence systems, the council said.

New Dimensions signs 8el in network deal

New Dimensions Group, one of the UK's largest providers of support services to people with learning difficulties, has chosen 8el to provide a converged voice, data and ISP network in a deal worth £750,000 over three years. 8el will deliver telephony, Wan and ISP services, with the possibility in future of VoIP and future Next Generation Services deployments.

Vale completes roll-out to meet Gershon targets

Vale Royal Borough Council completed a four-month implementation of Lagan's Frontline citizen relationship management system in a bid to meet Gershon efficiency targets. The £145,000 contract is the first phase of a three-year drive to improve efficiency through the use of IT at the Cheshire council.

Nottinghamshire deploys Mapinfo system

Nottinghamshire County Council is installing Mapinfo Confirm as the backbone of a new Highways Asset Management System. The £275,000 system will initially cover customer services, asset inventory, highways inspection, bridges and structures, and roadworks information.

FMC signs deal for new SAP payroll system

Engineering company FMC, which supplies and manufactures sub-sea production systems, has signed a £200,000 contract with Absoft for the provision and support of an SAP payroll system. Absoft will integrate the system with FMC's existing SAP implementation..



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